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Choosing a new DAC. Your thoughts on DSD today, late 2015. (POLL)


Is DSD important to you, in late 2015?  

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I prefer the sound of DSD and will continue to support it. But then I also like the sound of good vinyl.

Analog: Koetsu Rosewood > VPI Aries 3 w/SDS > EAR 834P > EAR 834L: Audiodesk cleaner

Digital Fun: DAS > CAPS v3 w/LPS (JRMC) SOtM USB > Lynx Hilo > EAR 834L

Digital Serious: DAS > CAPS v3 w/LPS (HQPlayer) Ethernet > SMS-100 NAA > Lampi DSD L4 G5 > EAR 834L

Digital Disc: Oppo BDP 95 > EAR 834L

Output: EAR 834L > Xilica XP4080 DSP > Odessey Stratos Mono Extreme > Legacy Aeris

Phones: EAR 834L > Little Dot Mk ii > Senheiser HD 800

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I prefer the sound of DSD and will continue to support it. But then I also like the sound of good vinyl.

 

+1

If guns kill people, do pencils misspell words?

 

Mac Mini (w/Audirvana; MMK; JS2; ext SSD); AQJB; Curious USB; Regen; Curious (20cm); Yggdrasil; anti-cable 6.2 ic; Cary SLI-80 Sig (NOS tubes); diy VHaudio airlock sp; Merlin VSM's (sadly, last iteration); Cardas Clear & VHaudio Flav 4 pwr cords; Tripp Lite iso trans; diy power box; Syn Res ART; diy Shakti Hallograph (4); Bybee room neutralizers & signal enhancers; Furutech GTX outlets; Stillpoints Ultra SS & mini

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I like well recorded hi-res music and will buy it in whatever the best format it is available in. Based on where it comes from that is sometimes PCM and sometimes DSD, so why limit myself to only one flavor!

Synology NAS>i7-6700/32GB/NVIDIA QUADRO P4000 Win10>Qobuz+Tidal>Roon>HQPlayer>DSD512> Fiber Switch>Ultrarendu (NAA)>Holo Audio May KTE DAC> Bryston SP3 pre>Levinson No. 432 amps>Magnepan (MG20.1x2, CCR and MMC2x6)

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Choosing a new DAC and liking DSD can be mutually exclusive.

 

i prefer to software upsample to DSD on the fly then feed that to the DAC.

 

i don't see much point in buying DSD if I can just upsample

 

What is the basis for your belief that upsampled to DSD sounds the same as mastered in DSD? Depending on the DAC, upsampling to dSD can improve SQ, but it's not going to equal the sound of the same album mastered to DSD, all else being equal. Upsampling can remove certain artifacts, but it can't add the additional information contained in the native DSD file.

"Relax, it's only hi-fi. There's never been a hi-fi emergency." - Roy Hall

"Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted." - William Bruce Cameron

 

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I just faced this same dilemma. When spending $2500 I could have easily gone with something that supported DSD. I went with an Aqua DAC, PCM only, with excellent rendering of everything from Redbook to 24/192 direct-to-disk recordings. I would do it again in a heartbeat. DSD, as far as I know, is how most Sigma Delta DACs wind up seeing the digital signal anyway (PCM > DSD conversion happens on-chip, as far as I'm aware). I don't believe that's how it works in an R2R/Ladder DAC. Either way, I have 4000 files (guessing) and 4 are native DSD and none of them are what I would consider playing when I want to listen to music. So, for me, until they start releasing all of my favorite music as direct from master-to-DSD, I'm not buying it.

 

^The above is just a personal preference, no offense intended.

Ryzen 3900x Roon Core PC -> Intel i9900k HQPlayer W10 machine -> iFi Zen Stream NAA

Holo May KTE, Benchmark LA4 preamp

SMC Audio upgraded DNA-125 Amp

Dynaudio Confidence C2 Platinum speakers

Vinyl rig - Schiit Sol, Nagaoka MP-500, Mod Squad PhonoDrive phono stage

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I now use room correction, the benefits of which far outweigh the benefits of DSD and higher res material, so I really don't care about anything above 24/96.

 

DSD might be of benefit if I used headphones regularly.....but I don't.

 

There is no "best" format for all situations. One starts with the basic proposition that the quality of the original recording is far more important than the format. But, given a good recording, both PCM and DSD are capable of producing excellent SQ. Sometimes a PCM version is superior while, at others, the DSD version is best. OTOH, for some with the right DAC and a powerful server, upsampling everything to DSD256 on the fly has proved to be a sweet spot. All other things being equal, which they seldom are, a DAC that can play both PCM and DSD provides greater flexibility and choice.

"Relax, it's only hi-fi. There's never been a hi-fi emergency." - Roy Hall

"Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted." - William Bruce Cameron

 

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I like well recorded hi-res music and will buy it in whatever the best format it is available in. Based on where it comes from that is sometimes PCM and sometimes DSD, so why limit myself to only one flavor!

 

Right with you.

One never knows, do one? - Fats Waller

The fairest thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. - Einstein

Computer, Audirvana -> optical to EtherREGEN -> microRendu -> ISO Regen -> iFi NEO iDSD DAC -> Apollon Audio 1ET400A Mini (Purifi based) -> Vandersteen 3A Signature.

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Just bought an exasound E12 DAC, and it gets its feed from a CAPS running Windows Server, Audiophile Optimizer, and JRiver Music Center as a renderer. I've downloaded a few DSD recordings but they are works I haven't had in another format so can't really say if the sound is better. I can say the sound is very nice.

 

I know DSD has been around for 10 or more years and doesn't show any signs of market domination. But I do vinyl as well, and am interested in trying different formats.

 

One interesting result is that I must start the DSD music from the instance of JRiver on the CAPS connected to the DAC (the music lives on a Synology NAS elsewhere on the network). If I start the music from another location via Gizmo or a laptop, the server instance of JRiver dutifully converts the DSD material to PCM before sending it to the CAPS renderer.

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I'd prefer a DSD capable DAC. But if I thought a PCM only DAC had truly exceptional sound- and was the best sound I could afford, I'd buy it and convert DSD>PCM for playback.

Main listening (small home office):

Main setup: Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>QuietPC Low Noise Server>Roon (Audiolense DRC)>Stack Audio Link II>Kii Control>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.

Secondary Path: Server with Audiolense RC>RPi4 or analog>Cayin iDAC6 MKII (tube mode) (XLR)>Kii Three .

Bedroom: SBTouch to Cambridge Soundworks Desktop Setup.
Living Room/Kitchen: Ropieee (RPi3b+ with touchscreen) + Schiit Modi3E to a pair of Morel Hogtalare. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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Most of my music on my computer is DSD, however I love high resolution PCM as well.

 

I also love SACDs, which I can't play through my Teac UD-501 DAC as SACDs only allow DSD out with HDMI. The Teac DAC has USB, Optical and Coax but no HDMI. So I use the DAC in my Yamaha Blu-Ray/SACD player which sounds pretty good to me, especially with SACDs and Blu-Ray Discs.

I have dementia. I save all my posts in a text file I call Forums.  I do a search in that file to find out what I said or did in the past.

 

I still love music.

 

Teresa

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Those who are rocking DSD, did you ripped the files from SACD or were they purchased?

 

I don't rip my purchased physical formats (SACDs, Blu-ray discs, etc.) to my computer with the exception of HRx data discs.

 

I purchase DSD downloads mostly from Native DSD and Acoustic Sounds' Super HiRez.

 

SACDs are copy protected so one has to find an early first generation non-updated Playstation 3 and modify it to get DSD out. Not something I would be interested in as I'm not much of a DIY'er. And I would prefer playing the SACD over playing a DSD rip of it as I actually prefer physical formats. My computer is reserved for downloads I can't get in high resolution physical formats, or are priced less or if I don't want to purchase the entire album.

I have dementia. I save all my posts in a text file I call Forums.  I do a search in that file to find out what I said or did in the past.

 

I still love music.

 

Teresa

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I upsample all of my content to DSD128. I like the sound of it so much I bought a DAC that doesn't even play PCM.

 

A lot of audiophiles seem to be averse to DSP, but my understanding is that the vast majority of "PCM" DACs convert the signal internally anyway and often to an SDM/DSD type of signal because it requires less invasive filtering than PCM. Converting the signal in the computer instead offers the advantages of far greater processing power and a choice of the upsampling software and algorithms.

 

I would love for there to be more well recorded native DSD or well done DSD masters of analog recordings, but I'm not waiting for that. I have many tens of thousands of recordings on my server and I've found absolutely no reliable correlation between format and sound quality. IMO, all of the debates are around the theoretical possibilities of each format, which has nothing to do with what happens with any given recording. I can't tell you how many times I've purchased a high-res (PCM or DSD, typically remastered) recording only to find that it sounds inferior to the first gen redbook. It largely seems to boil down to the sonic preferences and monitoring system used by the mastering engineer.

 

I don't control how the music is recorded and mastered, but I prefer for it to be played back with DSD upsampling by HQPlayer and with no DAC chip at all via the Lampizator.

Roon Server: Core i7-3770S, WS2012 + AO => HQP Server: Core, i7-9700K, HQPlayer OS => NAA: Celeron NUC, HQP NAA => ISO Regen with UltraCap LPS 1.2 => Mapleshade USB Cable => Lampizator L4 DSD-Only Balanced DAC Preamp => Blue Jeans Belden Balanced Cables => Mivera PurePower SE Amp => Magnepan 3.7i

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I am surprised that the result so far is very close. I asked the same question on Head-Fi and only one vote for DSD vs. 18 for don't care for it.

 

Those who are rocking DSD, did you ripped the files from SACD or were they purchased?

 

All of the above:

 

* Rip SACDs to DSF (thanks to Mr. Wicked and Ted) for the convenience of not having to handle disks, plus I can run it through a better DAC.

 

* Download when the provinance "seems" rights (I reserve the word "seems" because it really seems that no one really knows - except the person who did it and they ain't talkin').

 

* Upsample to DSD through HQPlayer.

 

Do I still listen to PCM? Absolutely, just about every day. Mostly because there is more of it and it's convenient. But when I do listen to DSD I end up spending more time than I intended because I get lost in the music :)

Analog: Koetsu Rosewood > VPI Aries 3 w/SDS > EAR 834P > EAR 834L: Audiodesk cleaner

Digital Fun: DAS > CAPS v3 w/LPS (JRMC) SOtM USB > Lynx Hilo > EAR 834L

Digital Serious: DAS > CAPS v3 w/LPS (HQPlayer) Ethernet > SMS-100 NAA > Lampi DSD L4 G5 > EAR 834L

Digital Disc: Oppo BDP 95 > EAR 834L

Output: EAR 834L > Xilica XP4080 DSP > Odessey Stratos Mono Extreme > Legacy Aeris

Phones: EAR 834L > Little Dot Mk ii > Senheiser HD 800

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I'm a known fan of DSD, especially Quad-rate now.

 

I do not mind up-converting my Redbook to DSD (so far DSD128) as it sounds better to me in my system though my native DSD DAC.

 

I would prefer more native DSD recordings and releases, especially in the Pop/electronic genres.

 

My actual DSD collection is tiny compared to my Redbook collection.

Dedicated Line DSD/DXD | Audirvana+ | iFi iDSD Nano | SET Tube Amp | Totem Mites

Surround: VLC | M-Audio FastTrack Pro | Mac Opt | Panasonic SA-HE100 | Logitech Z623

DIY: SET Tube Amp | Low-Noise Linear Regulated Power Supply | USB, Power, Speaker Cables | Speaker Stands | Acoustic Panels

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DSD, another High End snake oil convincing the easily swayed to spend ever more money

on new equipment.. 24/196 PCM is all you'll ever need. 99% of the population can't hear the difference between well done 16/44 and anything better. Of the other 1% you have to ask yourself how many are really hearing an improvement or are imagining it.

Of course no self respecting audiophile will ever accept the results of A-B-X testing or measurements.

"The gullibility of audiophiles is what astonishes me the most, even after all these years. How is it possible, how did it ever happen, that they trust fairy-tale purveyors and mystic gurus more than reliable sources of scientific information?"

Peter Aczel - The Audio Critic

no-mqa-sm.jpg

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DSD, another High End snake oil convincing the easily swayed to spend ever more money

on new equipment.. 24/196 PCM is all you'll ever need.

 

Damn! My DAC tops out at 24/192 PCM. So close.

Sometimes it's like someone took a knife, baby
Edgy and dull and cut a six inch valley
Through the middle of my skull

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DSD, another High End snake oil convincing the easily swayed to spend ever more money

on new equipment.. 24/196 PCM is all you'll ever need. 99% of the population can't hear the difference between well done 16/44 and anything better. Of the other 1% you have to ask yourself how many are really hearing an improvement or are imagining it.

Of course no self respecting audiophile will ever accept the results of A-B-X testing or measurements.

 

Sal -- do me a favor and don't tell me what I can hear, or what I need.

 

Thanks

 

(Where are you finding this '24/196'?)

If guns kill people, do pencils misspell words?

 

Mac Mini (w/Audirvana; MMK; JS2; ext SSD); AQJB; Curious USB; Regen; Curious (20cm); Yggdrasil; anti-cable 6.2 ic; Cary SLI-80 Sig (NOS tubes); diy VHaudio airlock sp; Merlin VSM's (sadly, last iteration); Cardas Clear & VHaudio Flav 4 pwr cords; Tripp Lite iso trans; diy power box; Syn Res ART; diy Shakti Hallograph (4); Bybee room neutralizers & signal enhancers; Furutech GTX outlets; Stillpoints Ultra SS & mini

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